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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Patients Seeking #MentalHealthServices Drop As Deaths By #Suicide Rise

The number of mentally ill persons seeking #mentalhealthservices at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has drastically reduced amidst the rising number of deaths by #suicide in Acholi sub region.

Freddy Odong, a psychiatric #nurse and the project manager of #suicideprevention at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says the number of persons seeking #mentalhealthservices has dropped from between 60 to 80 each day to just 9 #patients currently.

He says so many people have abandoned treatment and there is too much reoccurrence of #mentalillness contributing to the higher number of deaths in the region.

Odongo explained that communities have continued discriminating people with #mentalillness which accounts for relapses and higher incidents of #suicide in the region.

Lucy Amony, a mother of six #children from Kirombe ward in Gulu West division says her daughter has battled #mentalillness for the last twenty-five years amidst #stigma and discrimination from the community.

She says her husband abandoned her with the #children and married another #woman after the family spent more than Shillings 8 million on treating her daughter.

“The drugs are very expensive and yet we are advised from the hospital to get them from pharmacies. I can’t afford now after my small scale business collapsed with #Covid-19,” Amony told Uganda Radio Network.

She has appealed to the government to prioritize support for people with #mentalhealthproblems through the provision of sufficient drugs in the hospital to save them the burden of treatment.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

John Paul Nyeko, the chairperson #MentalHealth Uganda for Northern Uganda revealed that over 1,500 patients with #mentalillnesses are currently on treatment at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.

He however said #stigma and discriminations against people with #mentalillnesses remain the major hindrances to breaking the cycle of #mentalhealth insurgency in the North.

“You may recall that none of the families of people with mentally ill persons in Gulu received food relief from government during the lockdown and the exclusions have continued,” Nyeko said.

However, in an early interview, Sister Immaculate Akello, the in charge #MentalHealth Unit at Gulu Regional Referral called for more awareness creation.

“#Mentalillness is beyond one’s choices and that calls for care of the #patients at home to enhance treatment,” Sister Akello said.

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